From Turner to Van Eyck, artists have long been drawn to traditional headdresses. Often huge and elaborate structures, these architectural fineries are indeed magnificent in themselves, so of course they tend to draw audiences with their spectacular, elliptical forms.
Now, the multidisciplinary French artist Christine Mathieu can be added to this list of artists after she has produced a series of striking photographs that each feature this traditional garb in all of its poise and drama.
In this series of portraits on display at Calais’ Cite Dentelle Mode museum, Mathieu marries the complex and airy structures of Normandy headdresses with young dancers. Through her work she calls on women’s history by focussing on objects and fineries that have been traditionally held in the mind’s eye as ‘feminine’. In this instance Mathieu takes these headdresses and accentuates their bejewelling status; using them as sensational, decorative ornaments to crown her models...
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